Committee Assignments, Fiscal Cliff, etc.

PERRYMAN COMMENDS CONSERVATION DISTRICTS,

RECEIVES COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS, DISCUSSES

IMPACT OF FISCAL CLIFF LEGISLATION

January 4, 2013

State Representative David Perryman

It is January and Oklahomans are thawing out from the longest period of below average temperatures in several years.  We are thankful for the snow over the holidays and that power outages were rare compared with other parts of the country.  As we move forward into 2013, away from one of the driest, and THE record hottest year, we hope and pray that increased rainfall will be a frequent and consistent part of our weather forecasts this year.  We can talk about legislation and public policy and tax laws, but there is absolutely nothing that devastates the economy and the quality of life in District 56 more than a lack of rainfall.

Fortunately, it is not as bad as it could be.  Thanks to the work of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the local conservation districts located in District 56, Oklahoma agriculture is better prepared to deal with the drought conditions than it was in the 1930’s.  That is not to say that another Dust Bowl will not happen, but through education, guidance and assistance of our local conservation districts, Oklahoma has averted such a disaster during a drought period that has been more severe than the drought that caused the infamous Dust Bowl.

Conservation districts are legal subdivisions of state government, whose primary goal is to assist citizens in practicing wise use and management of the state’s renewable natural resources, especially its soil and water. In addition to the assistance given to farmers and ranchers, conservation districts also assist a larger segment of the public including community planners, public health officials, developers and rural and urban citizens. Districts also provide a variety of education materials and opportunities for students and are another excellent example of the way that government works for us…for the Common Good.  Keep up the good work.

I am excited that I have been selected to serve on four committees during the upcoming session.  They are General Government, Tourism and International Relations, Appropriations and Budget – Higher Education, and Pension Oversight.  I have been named the ranking Democrat on Appropriations and Budget – Higher Education.

Even though new legislators never receive all of the assignments that they request, I believe that my placement on the General Government and Tourism and International Relations will allow me to serve District 56 and also have a positive impact on the rest of the state.  Of course, with the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in my District and Redlands, Cameron, SWOSU and WOSC drawing considerable students from my District, I am pleased to be on A & B – Higher Education.

I will discuss the specific work of the various committees in future articles.

As I write this, the news media is reporting that the “fiscal cliff” has been averted.  The congressional spin masters have made us feel good about our situation and the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 300 points to close at a 52 week high.  But what did Washington really solve?

Tax rates basically stayed the same except for persons earning more than $400,000 per year and the federal budget deficit continues to grow.  The impact on those who make more than $400,000 per year ($450,000 for couples) is that they will pay an additional $4,900 in taxes for every $100,000 in additional income.  As a result, there is projected to be an additional $620 Billion in revenue to help reduce the deficit.  As the saying goes, “The proof will be in the pudding,” and only the passage of time will reveal the effect of this legislation.

Unfortunately, Americans will continue to be deeply divided about whether we have a revenue problem or a spending problem. The news media on both sides of this issue will likely refuse to ever report anything that does not support their political position.  That debate will likely never end and the ideological divide will likely never be resolved.  Apathetically, we will ignore history and continue to accept either the Republican or the Democratic version of the “facts.”  In the interest of the Common Good, I will continue to provide you with the unspun facts and will leave it to you to research and interpret what you believe is in the best interest of the people.

The one issue that no one is talking about is the reinstatement of the 2% Social Security payroll tax that was cut in 2011 to help spur the economy.  This will actually increase taxes by $800 per year for the person earning $40,000.  The maximum increase resulting from the reinstatement of the social security tax to 2010 levels is $2,274 per year for persons earning at least $113,700 per year.

Thanks for reading this installment of the COMMON GOOD and thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Representative.  I want to know what is on your mind and your thoughts on improving the quality of life in District 56.  Please email me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov or call at 405-557-7401 or 405-222-3600 or toll free at 1-800-522-8502.